We are committed to keeping patients safe by keeping our hands clean. Hand hygiene, or hand washing, is the most important way we can prevent infection. Good hand hygiene can be accomplished by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell®, or soap and water.
We require our staff to clean their hands both before and after taking care of a patient. We also remind our patients and visitors to clean their hands often to help prevent the spread of infection. Clean hands protect everyone – patients, visitors, and staff.
What are we doing to improve hand hygiene?
As health care providers and hospital staff, we often speak about the importance of practicing good hand hygiene. Now, our patients are speaking up about why our hand hygiene protocol matters to them.
“My Health Is in Your Hands” is a new campaign featuring eight BWH patients who share their stories of care at BWH. They express their trust and confidence in their care team and other staff they interact with to always follow hand hygiene guidelines.
The campaign’s launch coincides with National Patient Safety Awareness Week March 5-10. Posters featuring patients will be placed on inpatient and outpatient units and the Community Connects television screen system.
Hand hygiene compliance is also a National Patient Safety Goal. At BWH, surveillance of hand hygiene compliance is conducted on a monthly basis.
Care providers should practice hand hygiene at key points during patient care to disrupt the transmission of microorganisms to patients, including:
before patient contact
after contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces (even if gloves are worn)
before invasive procedures
after removing gloves
Wearing gloves is not enough to prevent the transmission of pathogens in health care settings. Remember, our patients’ health is in our hands. To learn more about hand hygiene, please visit infection control.